NOTES FROM YOUR FILM COMMISSIONER
Last week, the incentive funds were fully allocated and several productions were in line waiting for funding. A couple days ago, there was about $380,000 available after the shows in line got their funding due to certified shows surrendering their incentive funds – and yesterday, the total available jumped to over $1 million due to another show falling through… which means THERE ARE MORE INCENTIVE FUNDS AVAILABLE!
Help us get the word out!
The amount available right now is $ 1,114,596 -- but note that this could change – up or down -- at any time! A production need only have $850,000 in qualified expenditures to qualify for the incentive (which would earn a minimum cash rebate of $127,500.) To get a $1,000,000 cash rebate would require qualified expenditures of over $6,600,000.
We’re reaching out to the industry with the news – today’s Hollywood Reporter has an ad touting how much money is available in Florida. You can see a copy of it on our website.
There is an excellent chance that more shows will drop out, meaning more incentive funds would become available. Sooooooo…
If you have a production that Florida might be a good home for before July 1st, 2007, PLEASE APPLY! If you know of one, TELL THEM TO APPLY!
The incentive info is online at www.filminflorida.com – or call us at (850) 410-4765.
Number of Qualified Productions
Right now, we have 32 productions qualified and certified for the incentive. 16 are slated for Miami/South Florida, 8 for Orlando, 3 for Tampa/St. Pete, 3 for Jacksonville, 1 for Key West, and 1 either for Central, West or North Florida. Since this year’s incentive started July 1st, 2006, we have had 19 other productions get qualified and certified, only to drop out before the start of production. We’ve also had another 13 applications disqualified. Next year’s incentive will have more stringent qualifying requirements. Why don’t we have them now? We can only do what the current statute allows … we will be fixing that in the statute in the upcoming tax credit bill.
The Feb. 1 Change of Queues, Order
Under the current incentive statute, on Feb. 1st, the two incentive queues were merged and all future applications after then are arranged by production start date. Needless to say, this creates the possibility that, if one production knew the start dates of other productions that had already applied but hadn’t gotten funds, they could put an earlier start date to gain a preferential placement for funds that might become available. That’s why we are strongly pushing next year for the entire year’s incentive to be first-come, first serve, which will eliminate this problem. But for now, we have to live with it.
THE NEXT-GENERATION INCENTIVE…
Governor Charlie Crist has made his support of the film and entertainment industry very apparent by placing $75,000,000 in his 2007-08 budget recommendation to the legislature to fund the first year of a three-year, tax credit program. Rep. Davis’ bill outlining how those tax credits would be allocated is in bill-drafting still, so details are still being worked out. I can assure you that the Advisory Council suggestions, worked through with many, many months of public citizen and industry input, were carefully considered in its crafting. Until it comes out of bill drafting, there won’t be a bill number or specific details… so stay tuned!
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO…
The ‘elderly’ among you, like myself, might recall those words from the 80s rock song by The Clash, and lots of people are asking your film commissioner if those words apply to me. I made no secret that when I accepted this job 17 months ago, it was to serve the remaining term of 1 ½ years, and I have served beyond that obligation. My goal was, as a person who spoke the language of the film industry, to try and get film and television to look at Florida as a place to film again, as well as build our own indigenous filmmaking base by providing the support in many areas. Since coming in I discovered many other needs, such as building digital media in our state, and have tried to serve those needs as well. The bottom line is that I am a filmmaker at heart, and production is what I’m good at, where I belong, and what I must get back to. My plan was always to exit January 2nd. But the people of Florida elected a man I have a great respect and admiration for: Governor Charlie Crist, and I have made it clear that, should he desire it, I will serve the office up to another six months to allow him time to find the best person to fill the office, to keep things moving through committee time and legislative session, and allow for a smooth transition. No decision has been made yet, and I don’t expect one until a new head of the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development is chosen, which oversees our Office of Film and Entertainment and would be the person I would report to. Until then, rest assured I am working diligently on your behalf to serve, promote and build our industry. And know even if I’m gone tomorrow or next week or six months from now, I will continue to fight for this industry and this state and mostly… for you.
HEY JUDE… KUDOS TO YOU IN OCALA!
The Ocala Film Commission, led by Jude Hagen, recently put together the most awesome book of photos to sell their area as a film site we had ever seen. Well, others seem to agree. We just got word they won not one but two Addy Awards for the location photo book – a Gold award for Direct Marketing and a Gold award for Four-Color Brochure. Actually, credit is shared with Brenda Evans and her Advisors Advertising Agency, and Jude gratefully acknowledges the Tourism Development Council, the Ocala/Marion County Commission, and the City of Ocala for their support in creating the book.
SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE MEETING…
Per a request from the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by Sen. Diaz de la Portilla (Miami), I gave about a 15-minute presentation last week on the Office of Film and Entertainment, who we are and what we do. I used the chance to talk about our industry’s incentive and changes that must be made to make it effective – such as switching to a multi-year tax credit with an increase in funding. It was well received, and the Senators asked insightful questions afterwards.
Rep. Davis and Sen. Saunders are in line to be our bill sponsors this year, and we are grateful for their dedication and service to our industry.
HELP US BRING PRODUCTION HERE!
Remember, we fully expect more shows to drop out of the incentive program that are certified. So if you hear of any production considering Florida, URGE THEM TO APPLY FOR THE INCENTIVE! It’s easy, and it’s online at filminflorida.com.
Meanwhile, I hope to see you on the set.
All the Best,
Your State Film Commissioner
Governor’s Office of Film & Entertainment
The Capitol, Suite 2001
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
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